Russian communist dictator, Vladimir Lenin, had a term for naive sympathizers in the West who could be manipulated to advance the Bolshevik/Soviet cause. He called them, Полезный идиот – polezni durak, which can be translated as “useful fool” or “useful idiot.” I’m somewhat familiar with the history of the American Communist Party (ACP) because of my studies of director, Elia Kazan, who was a member of the ACP from 1934 to 1936. During the depression, many liberal intellectuals saw communism as a desirable alternative to teetering capitalism. Joseph Stalin succeeded Lenin as Soviet dictator and even after reports of Stalin’s reign of terror and genocide leaked out to the West from behind the “Iron Curtain,” the “naifs” and “dupes” in the ACP, along with sympathetic “fellow travelers” outside of the ACP, continued to defend him and the Soviet system.
In yesterday’s post about Catholic apologist, Karl Keating (see here), it struck me that some evangelicals are being used by Satan as polezni durak/useful fools. Let’s face it, no Christian desires to be a “useful fool” or a “dupe” of Satan. Those are fighting words. But let’s examine this objectively.
One of Catholicism’s leading apologists, Karl Keating, enthusiastically propagates his church’s gospel of salvation by sacramental grace and merit. See here. Over the course of forty years, Keating has unflinchingly upheld his church’s standard teaching that salvation is attained by receiving the Catholic sacraments in order to receive graces so that the individual may successfully obey the Ten Commandments (impossible!) and abstain from sin so as to remain in a mortal-sinless state of grace in order to merit Heaven at the moment of death.
Keating and other Catholic apologists make no excuses about Catholicism’s teaching that individuals are saved by faith (in the sacramental system) AND works. Yet, there are many evangelical pastors and para-church leaders (e.g., Billy Graham and Rick Warren, above photo) who purposely ignore what Catholics claim regarding the sacraments and “good” works being an integral part of their salvation system. It’s as if they have determined that don’t want to know the truth about Catholicism. They have heard Catholics claim that they also believe in “salvation by grace through faith” and that’s good enough. But Keating and other Catholic apologists point out that the “grace” they refer to allegedly comes from the sacraments, and the “faith” they refer to is faith in the sacramental system. A knowledgeable Catholic will NOT agree to “Sola Fide,” faith in Jesus Christ as Savior alone, because they openly believe in salvation by faith plus works.
So why do some evangelicals try to smooth out Catholicism’s anti-Biblical wrinkles when Catholic apologists are unabashedly outspoken in defense of them? What drives these evangelicals to mute the differences between Biblical Christianity’s Gospel of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone and Roman Catholicism’s false gospel of sacramental grace and merit, even when confronted by the testimony of works-righteousness Catholic apologists? Is Satan using them as polezni durak; dupes and useful fools in the ecumenical movement? In this era of tolerance and plurality, has the desire for false “unity” replaced fidelity to doctrinal truth?
Take some time to read or listen to Catholic apologists when they refer to evangelical “Bible-thumpers.” They have absolutely no use for evangelicals’ Gospel of grace, yet many evangelicals unequivocally still embrace Keating, pope Francis, and the other work-righteousness Catholics as “brothers in Christ.” Does not compute. One-billion Roman Catholics are not hearing the genuine Gospel because of this willful ignorance on the part of many evangelicals regarding Catholicism’s false gospel.
“In today’s spirit of ecumenism, many evangelicals have called for the Protestant Church to lay aside its differences with Rome and pursue unity with the Catholic Church. Is that possible? Is Roman Catholicism simply another facet of the body of Christ that should be brought into union with its Protestant counterpart? Is Roman Catholicism simply another Christian denomination?
While there are many errors in the teaching of the Catholic Church (for example its belief in the transubstantiation of the communion wafer and its view of Mary), two rise to the forefront and call for special attention: its denial of the doctrine of sola Scriptura and its denial of the biblical teaching on justification. To put it simply, because the Roman Catholic Church has refused to submit itself to the authority of God’s Word and to embrace the gospel of justification taught in Scripture, it has set itself apart from the true body of Christ. It is a false and deceptive form of Christianity.” – John MacArthur. See here.